2018 MOTOCROSS OF NATIONS | COMPLETE COVERAGE

MOTO ONE | MXGP CLASS & MX2 CLASS

The Netherlands' Jeffrey Herlings emerged from the start at the front of the field, which helped him avoid the carnage that occurred in the first turn, which claimed Italy's Antonio Cairoli, Great Britain's Ben Watson, and Switzerland's Valentin Guillod. But Herlings was not mistake-free in the opening lap because a crash on his own allowed Spain's Jorge Prado, France's Gautier Paulin, and Australia's Hunter Lawrence all to get by.

Prado handled the pressure from the experienced pack of riders well and the Spanish MX2 rider maintained the lead through the first laps of the moto over Paulin and Herlings, who quickly rebounded from the crash and passed back up to third place. The race between the three leaders shaped up in the middle of the moto, as Paulin and Herlings reeled in Prado with the fast lines allowed by their MXGP class 450cc machines. Herlings was the rider that fared the best in the latter stages of the moto with passes on Paulin for second and then on Prado for first, and from there he sped off unchallenged to the moto win. Paulin would eventually get by Prado for second, but Prado's early lead helped him maintain third place at the finish line.

American's Eli Tomac and Aaron Plessinger were shuffled back in the running order on the opening lap, a situation that one managed to overcome and the other struggled with. Tomac forced his way through the pack to get into the top-five late in the race, which then set up a long battle with Great Britain's Tommy Searle for fourth place. Unfortunately for Searle, his Kawasaki emitted steam for nearly the entire duration of the race and broke down two laps from the finish, which put Tomac into fourth and Belgium's Clement Desalle fifth. Plessinger, meanwhile, ditched his goggles very early in the race while passing through the pack and a necessary pit stop for new goggles halted his progress. He ultimately crossed the line in eighteenth.

Cairoli's crash on the opening lap stacked the odds against the Italians, but the MXGP qualifying moto winner managed to run a pace similar to the leaders and eventually passed from nearly last place up to sixth at the checkered flag. Cervellin put in a quiet, albeit consistent moto and finished the race in tenth.

The German pair of Ken Roczen and Henry Jacobi were plagued by repeat issues in the moto. Roczen was far back in the pack on the pack on the first lap and even with passes on other riders, he only reached twenty-fifth place at the checkered flag. Jacobi's race was even worse due to an issue that forced him to DNF the moto.

Herlings' win was doubly important for the Dutch team due to issues Calvin Vlaanderen experienced that resulted in a thirty-sixth place finish. Even with the single point scored by Herlings, the Netherlands were already buried deep in the nations classification.

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

MOTO TWO | MX2 CLASS & OPEN CLASS

The Netherlands continued their run of excellent starts with Glenn Coldenhoff's holeshot over Spain's Jorge Prado. Much like in his Saturday qualifying moto, Coldenhoff controlled the race from the moment the gate dropped until the checkered flag and he crossed the finish line sixteen seconds ahead of his nearest competitor. Despite the Dutch wins of the first two motos, the issues Calvin Vlaanderen experienced in Moto One decimated the team's chance at the overall win. A rock hit the MX2 rider in the eye in the opening race, which caused his aforementioned DNF and an examination by the race doctors ruled him out of competition for the second moto.

The best battle of the moto between Prado, Great Britain's Ben Watson, and Australia's Hunter Lawrence for second place. The trio of MX2 riders kept close to each other for the full run, with Prado holding the sought-after position in the early laps while Watson worked to close the gap. But Lawrence played the spoiler in the last three laps of the race when he blasted by Watson and then got Prado for second with a quick succession of passes.

Americans Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger were pushed back in pack at the start, which created a challenge that both had to overcome through the entire race. Barcia fared better between the two, thanks to multiple passes in the early laps and he eventually reached ninth place at the checkered flag. Plessinger, however, struggled to make moves as quickly and again ditched his goggles before the midway point of the race, but this time he did not stop for a new pair. His finish in his last moto of the day was sixteenth, a slight improvement over Moto One. With this, the American team was fifth going into the final moto.

The French team led the overall standings ahead of Moto Two, but that all changed when Jordi Tixier's bike expired in the middle of the race and caused him to DNF. This dropped the French from first to sixth in the standings ahead of the final moto.

The Australian team saw the most improvement in their rank in Moto Two, thanks to a tenth place by Mitchell Evans and Lawrence's aforementioned second place. The Belgian team was ranked second through a sixth place finish by Jeremy Van Horebeek and an eighteenth place finish by Jago Geerts, while the Italian team was third with a twelfth place finish by Alessandro Lupino and a fourteenth place finish by Michele Cervellin.

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

MOTO THREE | MXGP CLASS & OPEN CLASS

Italian teammates Alessandro Lupino and Antonio Cairoli were bar to bar with The Netherlands' Glenn Coldenhoff, Germany's Ken Roczen, and France's Gautier Paulin in the first turns of the day's deciding moto, but by the time the field reached the deep, black dirt hairpin turn on the track, Coldenhoff had taken command of the lead. Coldenhoff's lead was crucial for the Dutch team due to Jeffrey Herling's subpar start and this created tension in the field as Herlings picked his way past riders over the course of the race, including both Italians Lupino and Cairoli and Germans Max Nagl and Ken Roczen to reach second place. Once into the position, many expected the two teammates from the Netherlands would eventually link up and dice for the lead, but Coldenhoff managed to stay clear of any competitors and won the moto. Coldenhoff's two moto wins with Herlings' 1-2 scores were enough to keep the Netherlands on the podium in third place, despite the lack of scores from Vlaanderen.

With the front-runners well ahead, attention turned to the Italians and French as they slugged it out for the top spot on the podium. Lupino put in a heroic effort and stayed in the top three for much of the moto until late-race charges by Paulin and Cairoli slid Lupino back to fifth. Paulin's ride was very important for the French team because he reached third place while Jordi Tixier raced deeper in the field in fifteenth. Paulin's late passes allowed France to just edge the Italian team for the lowest point total by two points, which extended the country's win streak at the international event to five.

The Australian team came into the final moto of the day in command of the overall standings until a crash in the first few minutes of the race by Kirk Gibbs put him at the very back of the pack while Mitchell Evans finished fourteenth. As a result, Australia missed the podium and was fourth overall on the day.

American riders Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia came into the moto with a shot at a podium finish, but poor starts by both riders buried them in the running order and they spent the entire race in battles with other riders. For a time the two raced alongside each other for positions nine and ten, with Tomac getting by Barcia to eventually finish ninth. Barcia's focus in the closing laps turned to holding off Great Britain's Tommy Searle, Belgium's Jeremy Van Horebeek, and Estonia's Harri Kullas but he was passed by all three and crossed the finish line in thirteenth. With this, America finished the race ranked sixth overall.

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE

CLICK TO VIEW FULL-SIZE IMAGE